The Margaretha

OK, I’m going to advance a new cocktail of my own creation. Ordinarily, this is akin to a red-neck driver handing you his beer and saying, Y’all watch this! However, in this case I think I’ve got a winner, or at least an entry which makes the podium.
In a recent post, I reviewed Bols Genever. I detailed how I banged my head against the wall trying to figure this spirit out, and how I finally found some delicious ways to serve it up. As I was editing the post, there was some material I discarded about how many mixologists tout qualities in genever that liken it more to whiskey than gin. That got me thinking.
And for those of you wondering when he is going to pop up and make a snarky comment about that, I locked him in the sock drawer before starting this post.
One of my favorite cocktails is the Vesper, a drink that marries two spirits to tone down the more radical elements and create a lovely fusion. I decided to try the same with the genever and its supposed cousin, whiskey. If a Vesper is a Martini variant, I’d make this cocktail a Manhattan one.
After a lot of experimenting with tiny cocktail glasses and my dwindling bottle of Bols Genever, I found a recipe that I hope some of you out there try and tell me what you think. It’s not an every day drinker, since it is pretty strikingly flavored, but I think it’ll be a fine option when I’m looking for a bracer and have time to ponder what I’m sipping.
Finally, I had to have a name. My first thought was the Gen Ee Sais Quoi, since I really didn’t know what to make of this! But, meh. I wanted some romance. Now, Vesper was a beautiful double-agent, and British, like gin. As it happens, the most famous (if apocryphally) double-agent, Mata Hari, was Dutch, just like genever! Now, there are already a number of cocktails, and an absinthe, called the Mata Hari, so I looked Mata Hari up. Her real name was Margaretha….


  • 1 oz. Bold Genever
  • 1 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz. Nolly Prat Rouge
  • 1 dash Angostura Orange Bitters

Combine ingredients in shaker with large ice and stir both directions. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a long strand of orange zest.


  1. Reese

    15 September

    Sounds pretty tasty Doug! Although I think I may have to bust out my graduated cocktail cylinder to get 1.2oz. I’m willing to make that sacrifice in the name of deliciousness though.

    Do you think this would work with Boomsma Old Genever (the only one I have on hand) or is it better with a young genever?

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  2. Doug

    15 September

    YIKES! That should be 1/2 ounce Nolly Prat, not 1.2!
    Corrected above.

    As for the Boomsma, I have no idea. The only genever I’ve had is the Bols. Try it both ways, and let me know if it works for you, please.

      (Quote)  (Reply)

  3. oneshotbeyond

    15 September

    gee…that’s a really pretty drink!

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  4. Jason

    17 September

    Now that’s a tasty drink! I’ve been struggling with Bols as well. I just kept looking at the bottle thinking about what else I could buy with that $…but this is really good. Thanks!

      (Quote)  (Reply)

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